Growing industrial hemp can be quite profitable. Farmers who intend to grow high quality plants to be supplied to the hemp industry must be familiar with the best cultivars and growing conditions that will not only boost the quality of the end product but also keep THC levels from rising over 0.3 percent.
University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researchers are expected to be working on the best procedures to grow and test hemp flower in the states hot and humid climate.
Plant Hardiness Zone(s)
According to the latest data from the USDA and the American Horticultural Society, hardiness for Georgia is between 6a, in the mountainous north, and 9a, as you move downwards to the coastline. Industrial hemp does well in USDA 8-11 hardiness zones.
The state of Georgia has a humid subtropical climate that is characterized by hot and humid summers and mild winters. Average winter temperatures are in the fifties and sixties, while during summer, temperatures are usually in the nineties. Hemp flower grows well in areas where the average minimum temperatures are in the 40s and 50s.
Length of Growing Season
In the state of Georgia, the growing season starts in late March and ends in early November. It is estimated to last around 231 days.
Average Annual Sunlight
Each year, the state of Georgia receives an average of around 2100 hours of sunlight; this translates into an average of about 5 hours of sunlight each day. Between March and September, most parts of the state receive more than 12 hours of sunshine each day. Since hemp plants need upwards of 12 hours of sunlight to attain maximum growth during the vegetative stage, planting in the field should be properly timed, to prevent the premature triggering of the flowering stage.
Average Annual Precipitation
The average annual precipitation in the state of Georgia varies. In the extreme northeast end, the average annual precipitation can be as high as 75 inches. On the other hand, as you move to the central and east central parts of the state, average precipitation for the year may be as low as 45 inches. This is more than enough for growing hemp flower, as the plant requires an average of 25 – 30 inches of precipitation annually.
The mean elevation of the state of Georgia is estimated to be around 600 feet. The state’s elevation rises from the Atlantic Ocean, which is at sea level, to the highest point Brasstown Bald, in the mountainous region. It is best to avoid growing hemp in steep areas where elevation is above 400 feet. This means that the mountainous areas of the state are best avoided as cultivation would result in poor quality crop.
In Georgia, the soil pH is generally acidic. The average range for soil pH in the state is between 5.8 and 6.5. To grow high quality hemp flower, you need well drained soils whose pH level lies between 6 and 7.5.
The most prominent type of soil in the state of Georgia is red clay. This is a poorly aerated soil that needs conditioning to support cultivation. However, the Georgia Piedmont region, which lies between the Upper Coastal Plain and the Blue Ridge Mountains, is known to be rich in nutrients. Hemp can grow on a variety of soils that are well aerated and drained, and can hold nutrients and moisture well.
Hemp stands up well to common gardening pests and diseases. Plants may however be affected by viruses, fungi, nematodes and bacteria; such attacks rarely affect the expected harvest even though they may kill or affect the growth of some plants.
This means that farmers do not need to use herbicides and pesticides on their crop for most of the time. In Georgia, boring pests are perhaps one of the biggest threats to growing hemp plants as they can cause a lot of damage to the stalk of the plant once they bore into it.
Obtaining A Hemp Flower Grower’s License In Georgia
Under federal law, it is illegal to grow hemp flower anywhere in the United States without first obtaining a grower’s license from the appropriate regulatory body for the state in which the interested party intends to plant the crop. For information on the legal status of hemp in Georgia, as well as a breakdown of the application process, click here. Read about hemp legality by state.